Comparative Claims

Claims comparing a packaging’s environmental benefits to another product can only be made if they can be substantiated. Words like “better” and “most” can’t be used since they aren’t quantifiable. Words like “larger” or “smaller” or “more” or “less” can be used if they are quantified through the use of purchasing or manufacturing records or historical data.

Labeling tips

  • DO sufficiently qualify comparative claims.
  • DO be clear about what is being compared.
  • DO cite sources of data used and any assumptions made.
  • DO maintain backup records to support claims.


Example/Claim Right or Wrong? Why?

“Current plastic bottle uses 10% less material than our previous plastic bottle. This reduces landfill discards by 4 ounces of plastic for every plastic bottle sold.”*

*Assumption: Plastic recovered at 10%
Data Source: Other plastic: Boustead Model V5


This claim is not deceptive provided the “previous plastic bottle” referenced is the immediately preceding bottle design the producer sold. Assumptions and citations are provided and it is clear what is being compared.

“Box contains 10% more recycled content”


It is unclear whether 10% more refers to their immediately preceding package or to a competitor’s product.

“New package reduces material by 30 tons of paperboard (equal to 80 trees) and 35 pallets.”


This claim is too vague and the comparison is not clear. Is the new package being compared to the immediately preceding package that was sold? Also, it’s not clear how the calculations were done. Is the reduction in material based on 10,000 packages sold or 100,000 packages sold or some other number? Where did the data come from for the calculations? Assumptions need to be stated and the sources used to make the calculations must be cited.